Apr 12, 2012 8:36am
U.S. Justice Dept. accuses Apple and big publishers in e-Book Price-fixing Scheme
U.S. Justice Dept. accuses Apple and others in e-Book Price-fixing Scheme
The U.S. filed an antitrust lawsuit on 11 April 2012 against Apple Inc. and five of the nation's "Big Six" publishers. It alleges they conspired to limit competition for the pricing of e-Books. The U.S. Justice Department also filed terms of a proposed settlement in the suit with Hachette, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster. Apple, Penguin and Macmillan have not accepted these settlement terms. The DOJ will continue to litigate its antitrust suit against them.
“For the growing number of Americans who want to take advantage of this new technology, the Department of Justice is committed to ensuring that e-books are as affordable as possible,” Attorney General Eric Holder told a press conference on 11 April 2012. “As part of this commitment, the Department has reached a settlement with three of the nation’s largest book publishers – and will continue to litigate against Apple, and two additional leading publishers – for conspiring to increase the prices that consumers pay for e-books.”
According to the filing, settling publishers will be immediately required to do the following:
• Terminate its current contracts with Apple within seven days of the court’s acceptance of the settlement;
• Terminate any other contracts with e-Book retailers that restrict the retailer’s ability to set final prices for books or contain a “most favored nation” provision prohibiting price competition, as soon as possible;
• Renegotiate contracts with Apple and other retailers, with a two-year prohibition on any contract that prevents retailers from discounting retail prices
• Notify the Department of Justice before entering into any joint ventures between it and another publisher related to e-Books;
• Designate an antitrust compliance officer and provide the DOJ with a copy of its agreements with any e-Book retailers quarterly for five years.
Furthermore, any future agreements between the settling publishers and e-book retailers will have to observe serious restrictions, at least for a time. For two years, e-Bookstores must be permitted to discount retail prices of books at their own discretion. Read the full article on Wired dot com
— Apple CEO Tim Cook enforcing Slave Labor in China for Apple on 29 March 2012 —
The scale is really staggering. Apple's devices are built in plants owned by Foxconn. It is typical to see 20,000, 25,000, 30,000 workers slaving away in enormous rooms. These people work silently on giant production lines where high-volume output is demanded. There is no talking allowed, no interaction with others, and no laughing is allowed. These things slow down the line. AND NO Waving Back to Apple CEO Tim Cook is allowed!!!
In China, Human Costs Are Built Into an iPad
An explosion on 20 May 2011 at a Foxconn factory in Chengdu, China, killed four people and injured 18. It built iPads. The explosion ripped through Building A5 on a Friday evening. An eruption of fire and noise twisted metal pipes as if they were discarded straws.
When workers in the cafeteria ran outside, they saw black smoke pouring from shattered windows. It came from the area where employees polished thousands of iPad cases a day.
Two people were killed immediately, and over a dozen others hurt. As the injured were rushed into ambulances, one in particular stood out. His features had been smeared by the blast, scrubbed by heat and violence until a mat of red and black had replaced his mouth and nose.
In the last decade, Apple has become one of the mightiest, richest and most successful companies in the world, in part by mastering global manufacturing. Apple and its high-technology peers — as well as dozens of other American industries — have achieved a pace of innovation nearly unmatched in modern history.
However, the workers assembling iPhones, iPads and other devices often labor in harsh conditions, according to employees inside those plants, worker advocates and documents published by companies themselves. Problems are as varied as onerous work environments and serious — sometimes deadly — safety problems.
Employees work excessive overtime, in some cases seven days a week, and live in crowded dorms. Some say they stand so long that their legs swell until they can hardly walk. Under-age workers have helped build Apple’s products, and the company’s suppliers have improperly disposed of hazardous waste and falsified records, according to company reports and advocacy groups that, within China, are often considered reliable, independent monitors.
More troubling, the groups say, is some suppliers’ disregard for workers’ health. Two years ago, 137 workers at an Apple supplier in eastern China were injured after they were ordered to use a poisonous chemical to clean iPhone screens. Within seven months last year, two explosions at iPad factories, including in Chengdu, killed four people and injured 77. Before those blasts, Apple had been alerted to hazardous conditions inside the Chengdu plant, according to a Chinese group that published that warning.
“If Apple was warned, and didn’t act, that’s reprehensible,” said Nicholas Ashford, a former chairman of the National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health, a group that advises the United States Labor Department. “But what’s morally repugnant in one country is accepted business practices in another, and companies take advantage of that.”
There have been a series of suicides at Foxconn where, month after month, workers would go up to the roofs of the buildings and throw themselves off the buildings. The fact that people were choosing to kill themselves in an incredibly public manner is really relevant. It demonstrates the pressures of Apple's production lines. It’s a very intense environment. Two years ago Apple required Foxconn to install anti-suicide safety nets around all their buildings where iPads and iPhones are made. These Apple-worker suicides have continued.
Apple is not the only electronics company doing business within a troubling supply system. Bleak working conditions have been documented at factories manufacturing products for Dell, Hewlett-Packard, I.B.M., Lenovo, Motorola, Nokia, Sony, Toshiba and others.